|03-24-2011, 03:01 PM||#46|
Joined: Nov 2009
Location: Lancashire, UK
We never got down to Milford Sound so I look forward to seeing photos.
In your photo the Gates of Haast looked really dramatic, this is me in August 2008.
I'd be long gone if I was stood there when you went by!
Once again I have confused my intentions with my abilities...
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|03-24-2011, 08:07 PM||#47|
Joined: Dec 2003
Location: Southern Oregon coast
|03-24-2011, 09:58 PM||#48|
Joined: Jul 2009
Location: Arlington, VA
DAY 8 – Milford Sound via the Tunnel of Terror
25 Feb 2011 – kms today: 295 – kms to date: 2265
Queenstown is another neat little city. It bills itself as “The Adventure Capital” of New Zealand, and the streets are lined with various opportunities to scare the crap out of oneself: Skydiving and bungy-jumping, of course, plus whitewater rafting, jet-boating, stunt flying, day-old sushi, etc. But once again, my schedule did not permit me more than a quick stroll down Adrenaline Avenue yesterday evening before bedtime. So, Queenstown… you’re on the ever-expanding “next time” list.
Heard a little rain on the tent last night and this morning, but it stopped as I was getting up. Dragged a bit this morning; I think a week on the road is starting to catch up with me. Finally got everything packed up and on my way a little after nine. Threaded my way back out of Queenstown and rolled south.
The mountains were still wearing clouds on top. They were not the only clouds we’d see today.
A few curves coming out of town as the route followed the shores of Lake Wakatipu.
More lake. It’s a big lake. It may have a monster in it, but I couldn’t get a straight answer out of these people.
If you’re not careful, the scenery will swallow your motorcycle.
Some more little construction bits along the way (sorry, “road works”). At one point when I was stopped, I saw two tandem pairs descending under their parachutes into an airfield right next to the lake. Of course, I was too late with the camera, so here’s a picture of the construction instead.
Once past the lake, the road actually straightened out (!) and I was able to make some pretty good time, bombing along at 100 kph (roughly) for awhile. Stopped once or twice to take photos of sheeps, which were too bucolic not to photograph. I tried to count them, but it made me sleepy.
Hey, who are you calling an Athol?
The weather ahead looked pretty threatening, with lowering dark clouds…
…but it wasn’t until I made the turn toward Te Anau that it actually started to rain. I took shelter in a small café / art gallery right at the crossroads for a hot chocolate, expecting to have to suit up in the raingear when I emerged, but by then the rain had stopped – it was just a quick passing shower, and the skies actually looked a little brighter.
Left the raingear in the top case and rolled on. I was wearing the liner in my jacket, as the combination of cool temperatures, no sun, and 100+ kph velocities (roughly) were keeping me pretty chilled.
Some more long straight stretches along here (and a few more motorcycles) but then a couple of curves started becoming evident as I got to Te Anau. Stopped there for lunch and to gas up, as this is the last place for petrol – there’s none to be had in Milford.
In the US, the green handle means "diesel." Not here.
The petrol pump even had a nice shelf for my tank bag and helmet – very thoughtful.
Then on to the Te Anau – Milford Road, which starts out hugging the coast of Lake Te Anau, with its gentle curves. Then out into the countryside, where the road alternated between open fields and stretches of forest.
This road leads to one of the most beautiful natural areas in the world, but rather than ease you into it gradually, your senses are slammed with scenery from kilometer one. The forests here are very green, with lots of ferns and mosses on the trees. At times, I’d be twisting through the forest, with the light-dark shadows testing my eyes, then the bike would explode out into the open, usually revealing a spectacular vista.
That’s the Eglington River, which the road follows because it's pretty.
Stopped a couple of times in these big “flats,” as they’re called, for photos. As much fun as it is to ride through this landscape, how can you not stop to document it? No one would believe you.
“No, really! It’s like riding into a real-life Albert Bierstadt painting! Bierstadt! From the Hudson River School! Ahhh, look it up, you heathen…”
(Albert Bierstadt painting, for reference. See what I mean?)
During one of the forest segments, we crossed 45° South latitude. This is exactly halfway between the Equator and the South Pole.
Upon closer inspection, someone has amended the sign.
In the northern hemisphere, 45° North latitude passes near Salem, Oregon; Minneapolis, MN; Milan, Italy; and Hokkaido, Japan. There’s no reason anyone needs to know that - it won't be on the test.
This view is found at a place called Mirror Lakes, which was lovely even though the breeze rippling the water’s surface detracted a bit from the whole mirror effect.
One of the symbols of New Zealand is the fern. It’s found in many company logos here, as well as in the emblem of the All Blacks, the country’s beloved rugby team. Here’s a fern bench, found at Mirror Lakes.
I took a lot of self-portraits at this stop. I think I just wanted to convince myself that I was really here.
Let’s try the old balance-the-camera-on-the-topcase-and-run-back-into-the-scene technique.
This is the one I sent to my office to taunt my co-workers.
I even found somebody’s 4GB memory card lying on the ground at one stop. What treasures might it reveal? The recipe for Coca-Cola? Secret sorority initiation photos? Boring vacation pictures from Atlantic City?
No time to check now – there’s riding to be done.
The road started climbing – there’s still one more set of mountains to surmount to get to Milford Sound. I can’t believe I’m this close.
But the mountains weren’t finished with their scenery assault. Here’s a little viewpoint action.
Rounded a couple more corners, and I was at the entrance to the Homer Tunnel.
I’d read about this tunnel, and was amused by its Simpsonian name, but it turned out to be pretty scary – at least, for me. We had to wait at the mouth of the tunnel, because it’s only one lane wide, so there are traffic lights at each end that tell you when it’s safe to proceed. Soon enough, a caravan of tour buses and RVs emerged from the gloom. Then it was our turn to go in.
I say “our” because there was at least one RV waiting behind me at the tunnel entrance. We got the green light, and I lurched forward. Fortunately, I had remembered to take off and stow my sunglasses before entering the tunnel, because it was DARK. Unlike the tunnels I’m used to in the USA, which are brightly, fluorescently lit, this shaft had only the equivalent of a couple of 25-watt light bulbs dangling every 50 meters or so. And coming from the bright sunshine (it had turned out to be a lovely day) into the pitch darkness, with no time for my eyes to adjust, was jarring. It was like being swallowed by the mountain.
Of course, ten meters into the cave my zümo screen went full white, with the “lost satellite lock” screen, which was a bit distracting. Plus, the tunnel slopes downhill for its entire length (coming from this direction) and water constantly drips from the ceiling. And the road surface is pretty bad; since they’d have to close down the whole road to make any surface improvements. So they just let it go, and the legions of tour buses and RVs have taken their toll. So, to sum up: very dark, very wet, very bumpy, very terrifying. And about 1.2 km long.
But wait, there’s more: Once we finally emerged from the other end, blinking in the sunshine, the road turned right into a series of steep switchbacks all the way down the hill, which was pretty high. It was a bit of a one-two punch, but I finally reeled to the bottom. Fortunately, despite the warning I’d received about this road, the traffic was actually pretty light – good thing.
A few more kilometers and I was at “The Chasm,” a short hike (aren’t they all?) from the road to reveal some nicely river-sculpted stones along a narrow, difficult-to-photograph valley.
The actual chasm is better. I didn't get a good photo of it; I think my hands were still shaking from that tunnel.
I photographed another “Do Not Feed the Kea,” sign, but I still haven’t seen any of these birds. Maybe they can read the signs, so they beg elsewhere.
Back on the road for another dozen or so kms, and I was at MILFORD SOUND.
It’s just as spectacular as everyone says. Truly one of the most amazing places in the world. Exceptional. Fantastic. And this from a boy who was raised in the Grand Canyon State.
Milford Sound, like its neighboring co-sound Doubtful Sound, is actually a fjord. I forget the difference between the two; something about the steepness of the mountains as they plunge into the sea. But “Milford Fjord” sounds too much like a Swedish car salesman. “Hallo, I’m Milford Fjord. Can I interest you in a new Fjord Econo-wagon?”
Here’s a look at the north side (I think) of the Sound, where the tour boats are docked.
Unfortunately, at this hour (late afternoon) the sun was pretty much behind the iconic mountains, so most of the photos are silhouettes. But I’ll take more tomorrow in different light.
Rolled back up the road 1 km to the Milford Lodge, where I’m staying tonight. It’s more of a hostel, really – I’m sharing a room with at least two other people. Hopefully no snoring tonight, as I don’t know where I could re-locate. And I need to get up in the morning, as I’m going kayaking in MILFORD SOUND. Once checked in and sorted, I walked back to the little café in the sound for dinner, and a few more pictures.
Here’s dinner – simple, but filling… (All Carbs All The Time)
…and here are some more pictures. I found a little spotter-scope thingie, used to identify the nearby mountain peaks.
One more shot of Milford Sound at sunset.
I wanted to stay and shoot more as the sky darkened, but I was about to be carried off by the sandflies as a gift for their queen. Retreated to the relative safety of the lodge and caught up in my trip log.
And that SD card I found? I popped it into my netbook’s card slot with great anticipation, only to discover…
...4 gigabytes of nuthin’. A blank card.
But if that’s the only disappointment of the day, then I’d have to say that was a pretty good day.
skyguy screwed with this post 03-24-2011 at 10:16 PM
|03-25-2011, 05:57 AM||#50|
Joined: Jul 2009
Location: Arlington, VA
|03-25-2011, 06:27 AM||#51|
Joined: Nov 2009
Location: Lancashire, UK
Dammit, now we're going to have to go back.
Gorgeous, keep 'em coming.
Once again I have confused my intentions with my abilities...
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|03-25-2011, 08:41 AM||#52|
Trustin' my cape...
Joined: Sep 2009
Skyguy, really diggin' the report, thanks! In 2006 my wife and I spent a went in/around the Christchurch area riding dirtbikes. We then did a week in the Queenstown area with a trip to Doubtful Sound. You are correct, it's one of the most beautiful places I've ever experienced. I hope you had a chance to get a boat ride in MS!
|03-25-2011, 06:07 PM||#53|
Joined: Jan 2007
Location: Taranaki New Zealand
As a local (a kiwi) it is fascinating seeing my country from a visitor's perspective! For instance we would never think of taking photos of sheep...
Are you still in New Zealand. I am in New Plymouth (west coast of North Island) 4 1/2 hour ride from Wellington, if you need a bed for the night drop me a pm.
|03-25-2011, 10:31 PM||#54|
Joined: Jul 2009
Location: Arlington, VA
DAY 9 – Getting A-Paddling in Milford Sound
26 Feb 2011 – kms today: 122 – kms to date: 2387
Not much riding today – this is probably as close to a “rest day” as I’ll get on this trip. Not that I was doing much resting. Today, I’m going kayaking on Milford Sound. Yes, you should be jealous.
This place, The Milford Lodge, is sort of an unofficial “end of the trail” for the famous Milford Track, a four-day hike that is known as “The Finest Walk in the World.” So many damp hikers stay in this lodge after completing the hike that they’ve put in a heated “drying room” that is constantly full of wet clothing and boots. You can imagine what it smells like.
Oh, and they also rent locator beacons, in case you get lost or injured out in the woods. I don’t know how they rescue you – helicopter?
No snorers last night, so slept well up in my top bunk. I didn’t set an alarm, so I was shocked to see that it was 7:45 when I woke up. I had to hurry if I was going to get some breakfast and secure lunch for today’s kayaking trip.
Rushed around like crazy, but got packed up and mostly fed (blandest scrambled eggs ever) by the time the van pulled up outside the lodge at 8:30a.
My trip was with “Fiordland Wilderness Experiences” and there were five of us plus a guide. There was a Japanese couple – at least I assume they were a couple; they spent most of their time arguing. Then there was another couple in their 40s-50s from North Carolina. Our guide was Katie (K.T.?). Katie turned out to be a 65th-generation New Zealander. Her people (the Moriori?) were here even before the Maori (and as she tells, were eaten by the Maori). She explained the various layers of clothing we would be wearing, and how wet we could expect to get. We then changed in the rustic fishermen’s facilities, got our kayak safety and operations briefing, and waded in. I say “waded in” because you definitely to get your feet wet on this trip. I was wearing my Gore-Tex Merrell boots, and I reckon they’ll be spending the next few days drying.
Here are the Americans. I’m terrible at names, so I’ll just call them the Americans. Mr. American used to be a competitive canoer – canoeist? – and they picked up kayaking pretty quickly.
We’re in two-person sea kayaks. Since I was the odd man out, I ended up sharing a kayak with Katie, with her in back operating the rudder and me up front just paddling. But after a half-hour or so, it became evident that the Japanese couple was not quite “getting it,” so we beached our two boats and the Japanese guy and I swapped places, so he was now up front in Katie’s boat and I was behind the Japanese woman in her boat. It took me a moment or two to get the hang of the rudder (operated with foot pedals), but I think I picked it up pretty quickly. Then we were all back in the water and moving right along into the sound.
Katie would point out various points of interest (Mitre Peak! That other peak! The glacier that has the same name as that other peak! A waterfall!) and we would paddle around and stop and take pictures. Unfortunately, to keep our cameras safe (and dry) we sealed them into dry bags, so we could only get them out when we would rendezvous and hold still for a moment. So I don’t have my usual dozens of pictures of this expedition.
Here’s one stop – I believe that’s Lady Bowen Falls, downstream from a little hydro plant that provides electricity to the settlement at Milford Sound. And that’s my finger up top acting as a sunshade.
We saw several fur seals, both frolicking in the water and lazing on the rocks on shore. They sunbathing ones seemed to be as bothered by the sand flies as we were, twitching and slapping their flippers, though the bugs weren’t bad out on the water.
That’s the Japanese couple’s boat, prior to the shuffling. Katie would gather us together side-by-side-by-side to tell us interesting things.
But usually, we’d just gawk at the view. Can you blame us?
The sound is exceptionally clear and we had excellent weather today – bright and sunny. The clarity of the view here can fool you. Our guide pointed out a place on the far side of the sound and asked us to guess how far away it was. I guessed 2 km, someone else tried 3km – but it’s actually 8km to the far side. Glad we weren’t going all the way across.
Paddling can be hard work, so I was happy when we stopped for lunch on a rocky little beach. We pulled the boats up onto the shore and unpacked the dry bags with our lunches.
But it’s hard to eat lunch when your jaw keeps dropping open.
We ate while swatting at sand flies and watching the numerous little airplanes flying in and out of the small airstrip that’s right next to the sound. Katie pointed out “Sand Fly Point,” the terminus of the aforementioned “Milford Track.” After ending your hike there, you have to wait for a little boat to come and pick you up.
Our guide wore a small (and I assume waterproof) radio on her PFD, and at one point she got a call on it. It was from a couple of her friends, who had decided to climb Mitre Peak on their day off. They had just reached the 1,692-meter summit, and were announcing their arrival on top.
I think I found an outfit that makes my rainsuit look good –
Soon we were back on the water. In addition to a few other paddling groups, there were some larger tour boats out on the sound. Our guide told us that the masts on this one were strictly for show, as it didn’t really have a keel, so it could only raise its sails in ideal conditions. Most of the time (like today) it used the motor.
Katie was hoping we could catch the afternoon wind that comes in from the sea, (“The Day Breeze”) and soon enough, the breeze started to blow. She had been talking about “sailing back,” and I assumed that she just meant that the paddling would be easier with the wind at our backs. But no, she meant actually SAILING.
From one of the compartments in her boat, she produced a simple sail, really just a big square of ripstop nylon with some ropes attached at the corners. We ganged the three rafts together, then tied one pair of ropes to our paddles, raised up like twin masts at the back corners (including mine). The front two ropes were held by the kayaks’ front occupants. The folks in the middle kayak held on to the outside boats, keeping our little trimaran together.
Sure enough, the sail caught wind and pulled us almost all the way back in, which is good, as we were all pretty tired of paddling at that point. I wish I had a picture of this, as it was fantastic fun, skimming along the surface of the sound, feeling the wind as it tried to pull the paddle-mast out of your hands, the water rushing by just inches below the tops of the kayaks. We were even able to “tack” a bit as we turned the final corner, by using the rudders and adjusting our “sail.” But we finally had to haul in our sail and paddle the last few yards to shore. Carried out the boats, bailed out the inevitable water, and dried off and changed clothes. Then back into the van for the quick trip back to the Lodge.
Thanks for a great trip, Katie!
But my day wasn’t over yet – I still needed to ride back to Te Anau today. And there’s only one road out of Milford Sound.
Back up the switchbacks.
Back through the tunnel of death.
But at least this time, I knew what to expect. When I got to the tunnel entrance (the west side this time) sure enough, I was first in line at the red light.
But when a car pulled up behind me, and a bus behind him, I explained to each of the drivers that I would prefer to go between the two of them, with the car going first, then me, then the bus, so I would have someone to follow as well as another set of headlights coming from behind. They agreed to the plan, then we sat there for another few minutes waiting on the light. This time, I took the precaution of removing my GPS and stowing it in the tank bag (no distracting “lost satellite lock” messages), as well as waiting until the last second to take off my sunglasses. Once the light went green, I stashed my sunnies and zoomed in after the lead car. This time, the tunnel was no problem. Going uphill helped a lot, as did having a lead car and, mostly, knowing what to expect. Take that, Homer.
Once out the other side, I pulled over and let everyone past (including some sport motorcycle club out for a day ride) then rode back down to Te Anau, through the same swell scenery as yesterday, only from the other direction. Since I’d already taken so many pictures yesterday, I just relaxed and enjoyed the ride. This was about the only time I would ride the same road twice this trip.
Once (back) in Te Anau, I found the Top 10 and checked in. This particular Top 10 is right in town, and my site is back in a corner by the fence, so it looks like I’m in somebody’s backyard.
Strolled into town for dinner (lamb shank – good – sorry no photo). While walking back to the campground, caught another nice sunset, this time over Lake Te Anau.
My arms and my back are sore from paddling, but I should have no trouble sleeping. I need to, because tomorrow is going to be a long day.
I’ve got to see a man about an Indian.
skyguy screwed with this post 03-26-2011 at 11:50 AM
|03-26-2011, 02:03 AM||#55|
Joined: May 2010
Great pics, enjoying your RR, strengthening my resolve to one day do exactly the same thing.
Orange L0 650 V-Strom
|03-26-2011, 03:23 AM||#56|
Joined: Mar 2010
Location: Stourbridge West Mids
great RR, done a lot of that route, but you made me realise what I have missed on parts of your trip I have not done, the sandfly's are a bugger. MORE PLEASE cheers Spud
Have a great one
|03-26-2011, 08:08 AM||#58|
Joined: Jul 2009
Location: Arlington, VA
Thanks, everybody! Oh, and young1, I'm sorry to say that I'm already back in the US. But I did ride through Taranaki on my way back up thru North Island, so look for that report in a few more days. Thanks for the offer though - You live in a very beautiful place!
|03-26-2011, 08:11 AM||#59|
Joined: Mar 2009
Location: Smithereens- or what's left of it
Keep them coming! I hope that you have many days left to go.
Our ride across the USA on a Ural Gear Up- http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=781149
|03-26-2011, 07:01 PM||#60|
Joined: Jul 2009
Location: Arlington, VA
DAY 10 – The Mad Dash to the Bottom, & Are You Dunedin Yet?
27 Feb 2011 – kms today: 417 – kms to date: 2804
It’s always hard to rouse oneself from a warm sleeping bag into a cold tent on a cold morning, but I had to get going, as this is scheduled to be my longest day of riding. Had to pack the tent up wet, as there’s just no time to dry it properly this morning. Maybe tomorrow I can open it up and air it out; I’ll definitely do it soon.
Encountered this at the exit from the campground.
It’s a 1956 Ford Zephyr Six convertible, in excellent condition. Very cool. I’ve seen some extraordinary vintage cars down here lately. I don’t know if that’s a regular New Zealand thing, or if I’ve stumbled into some sort of rally.
Once mounted up, I hit a little petrol station to put a some air in the tyres, and grabbed what is now becoming my standard breakfast on the road – a little juice-box of instant breakfast-like stuff called “Up and Go” or something like that. Plus my vitamins and a tiny nut bar, if I can remember to pull one out. Seems to work for me, and allegedly has “all the fibre of a wheetbix,” so I’ve got that going for me, which is nice. And I’ve actually still got plenty of gas, so let’s get moving.
Then I did something I hadn’t done this whole trip: I let the GPS do the navigating. I’d spent the past few pre-trip months carefully laying out my route and programming it into my zümo. (using Garmin’s “RoadTrip,” their Mac version of MapSource) But today, rather than taking my pre-programmed “scenic route,” I just wanted to get where I was going as quickly as possible. So I told the GPS to take me to Bluff, and off we went.
The route it selected took me through some pretty farmland and rolling hills. The landscape reminded me of the Dakotas in America. It's funny how we always try to relate the strange to the familiar.
I’m sure the “scenic route” had more to look at, but also more curves and hills and traffic, and I was actually making pretty good time on this route. The road was wide open, but the weather is chilly and cloudy; I’m wearing the liner under my jacket.
Soon enough, I entered the outskirts of Invercargill, where I’d timed that my petrol would just about run out. Found a Shell station, and look what pulled up at the next pump:
As near as I can tell, it’s a 1938 Chevrolet Master DeLuxe Sport Sedan. Another classic. What's going on?
Here’s downtown Invercargill. I’m looking for a hardware store…
A few blocks later, I found it: E. Hayes & Sons’ hardware store. Some of you know where I’m going with this.
The sign in the window tells the story.
Burt Munro was a Kiwi who lived in Invercargill. He still holds a world speed record for under-1000cc motorcycles, set on the Bonneville Salt Flats. His story was told in the movie, “The World’s Fastest Indian,” (Anthony Hopkins plays Munro) and, for some reason, his world-record motorcycle is housed here, in a hardware store.
Ladies and Gentlemen, The World’s Fastest Indian – The Munro Special.
It’s displayed “naked,” but when Burt Munro was setting records with it, he ran it in this fairing.
Displayed next to the Indian is another motorcycle that some say should be as famous as his Indian. This is his 1936 Velocette, likely the world’s fastest Velocette. He had a friend with the same model and they used to race them.
There’s a whole case of Munro-mebilia –
Here’s what he started with –
The hardware store is very big, and there are antique and collectible motorcycles in practically every other aisle, scattered amongst the merchandise. Here’s another Velocette, and a Hudson, and some wheelbarrows.
Here’s a 1954 Victoria Burgmeister, a 1955 Ariel Square Four, and assorted bungy cords.
And, amidst the axes and sledgehammers, a 1951 Ariel Square Four and a 1953 Velocette.
I took several photos in there, then on to Bluff.
(or ends, depending on your direction)
Bluff is about another 20 km south of Invercargill, and is apparently the first European town in NZ, if I’m recalling that correctly. Lots of pretty little houses. But the real attraction is Stirling Point, the end of the road (NZ Route 1).
It’s as far south as you can go on South Island, and the farthest south I’ve ever been in my life. Made it, ma! Bottom of the world!
On my Iceland trip, I actually made it up to the Arctic Circle, and I got there on two wheels (with a little help from a ferry). Just like this trip. My old farthest-south record was Cape Town, but since all of New Zealand is already farther south than Cape Town, I’ve been breaking my own record pretty much every day here. But this is as far as we can go.
The actual southernmost point on South Island is Slope Point, a few km east, but it’s a pain to get to and not worth it for me. Farther than I’ve ever been is far enough.
They have a many-pointed signpost, giving directions and distances to various landmarks (sure enough, the South Pole is closer than the equator)
I managed to get the motorcycle to a good posing place right up front. Click click.
Thank you, helpful co-tourist, for positioning the sign so that it’s coming out of my head.
Land’s end. Actually New Zealand still has a few more islands beyond this, but this is the end of the main island.
Here’s a big anchor chain that keeps South Island from drifting away.
After the photo-op, I rolled a couple of kms back into town for lunch at a fish and chips place. Then, it was time to do something I’d been putting off for a couple of days. With my cell phone battery dying, I called Christchurch.
My route has me basically circumnavigating South Island. I went south down the west coast, and now I was returning north up the east coast. And tomorrow’s stop is supposed to be Christchurch.
Christchurch, which was hit with a 6.3 earthquake five days ago.
I figured I’d start by calling the Top 10 Park where I have my reservation for tomorrow night. If I got no answer there, I would keep searching in widening circles until I found a place that was open.
To my surprise, the Top 10 IS open, functioning, and expecting me tomorrow. They said that they had just gotten their water turned back on, and they had power, and were open for business. So no re-routing necessary – so far. The campground is on the outskirts of Chch, so I guess it’s far enough from the damage.
But I’m getting ahead of myself – I was not finished riding today. As before, the GPS had a wonderful scenic route all mapped out to get me from here to Dunedin, and as before, I scrapped it and just punched the address of the Dunedin Top 10 into the unit and hit “Go.”
I’m sure I’m missing out on all kinds of swell scenery down here, but once you’ve seen Milford Sound, everything else is a bit anti-climactic. Besides, it was already past 2:00p when I rolled out of Bluff. Back out into the farm country, really quite pretty in its own right. I don’t know if I’ve seen any unattractive areas in this country yet.
There were a few stretches of construction, and I got behind a maddeningly slow caravan of vehicles that were being held up by one slow car up at the front. This is the main drawback of the two-lane main highway – everyone is at the mercy of the slowest driver (I was back on NZ-1 by now, not that you’d notice). They do put in passing lanes here and there, but unfortunately for all of us in this particular conga-line, the passing lane coincided with the road works, so it was unusable. And we just kept a-crawling.
Finally, once we hit Dunedin, the road turned into a proper motorway for awhile, and we were all able to pass and glare at the slowpokes (whose car appeared to be heavily overloaded) People – if there are more than three cars stacked up behind you, PULL OVER!
Found the Top 10 (after some strange residential neighborhood routing by the zümo) and discovered that I’d pre-paid for a little cabin, which was fine by me.
Unloaded and did laundry, even going so far as to holding my still-wet-from-kayaking shoes under the hot air from the dryer vents. It worked, I think – I’m going to let them air out tonight and they should be wearable tomorrow.
Spent some time charging up all the various batteries (two cameras, iPhone, cell phone, netbook) Then a stroll down to the little grocery where I got a microwaveable dinner, which I nuked in one of the kitchens. Fancy eatin’ tonight.
Mixed messages from the Top 10…
“No Smoking. Here’s your ashtray.”
Long day – tied my mileage from day 03 at 417 kms, but it feels longer. Would've been much more had I stuck to my original "scenic route." Glad I’m in a cabin instead of the tent.
I am definitely packing way too much into each day to call this a vacation! Do I have time tomorrow to head all the way out to the end of the Otago peninsula to see the albatross and penguins? And then come back and ride another 365 kms to Christchurch?
We’ll see… Goodnight!
skyguy screwed with this post 12-09-2012 at 03:48 PM Reason: fixt photo
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